The Herb Column: Cannabis Dispensaries vs. Opioid Overdoses – Comstock's Magazine

Greta Hsu is a professor of management at UC Davis.

Greta Hsu, a professor of management at UC Davis, has published a study showing that, nationwide, counties that allow access to legal cannabis dispensaries can expect a significant decrease in opioid overdose deaths.

The study, coauthored by Balazs Kovacs, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale University, and published in the British Medical Journal, is the first to gather statistics on two subjects — opioid-related mortality and the prevalence of cannabis dispensaries — from the 812 counties in the 23 states in the United States where cannabis was legalized and had dispensaries operating by the end of 2017. The study pointedly includes both medical and recreational dispensaries. Its findings show that as the number of dispensaries increase, the number of opioid deaths drop.

While it does not claim a causal connection, the study suggests that “providing alternative pain management could improve public health outcomes,” according to a UC Davis news release.

The decision to conduct a county-by-county study produced more useful data, Hsu says, pointing to the fact that dispensary laws vary. In Sacramento County, for example, only the City of Sacramento allows dispensaries, while in Yolo County,

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